WRITTEN QUESTION No. 2215/97 by Helena TORRES MARQUES to the Commission. Creation of enterprises by women

Official Journal C 021 , 22/01/1998 P. 0142

WRITTEN QUESTION P-2215/97 by Helena Torres Marques (PSE) to the Commission (19 June 1997)

Subject: Creation of enterprises by women

In view of the growing presence of women in the world of work, can the Commission supply up-to-the-minute figures on the number of enterprises created over the last few years by women, for the Union as a whole and for each Member State?

Answer given by Mr Papoutsis on behalf of the Commission (15 July 1997)

Available statistics on the number of enterprises created by women in the Community as a whole and in each Member State are provided by the annual report of the European observatory for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Eurostat, through its publication 'Enterprises in Europe'. The statistics provided on women entrepreneurs indicate that out of the 17 million enterprises in the Community, 20-30% are run by women, of all the new enterprises created 25-35% are created by women, assisting spouses in SMEs have a participation rate of 60-80% and the survival rate of businesses run by women - after a 5 year period - is about 52%.

It is very important to note that women entrepreneurs and assisting spouses are most common in smaller enterprises. The sectors of business activity women entrepreneurs most frequently choose are the retail and service sectors whereas men prefer manufacturing. The relatively low rate of survival (52%) is reflected in the choice of sector (services) and the lack of start-up assistance offered to small businesses and more particularly women entrepreneurs.

Another point worth mentioning, due to its significance to society, is that women entrepreneurs tend to exhibit more socially oriented goals. As for the available statistics on women entrepreneurs in each Member State, statistics gathered reflect the available statistics on national level.

Due to the fact that more quantitative and up to date statistics are required (the available statistics date back to 1994-1995) in order better to identify the sector, the third multiannual programme for SMEs (1997-2000) (Council Decision 97/15/EC ((OJ L 6, 10.1.1997. ))) stresses the importance of statistical data so as to identify the number of enterprises, their size, structure and demography. Specific credits are intended to be foreseen for the elaboration of statistics in the proposed budget of 1998 on budget line B5-3201.